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Towards the end, he gets to the main point - the US health system is not set up for people who aren't wage slaves for a big company. The idea that a company should pay your pension is also kind of dumb.

Bingo. What to do about it though? Would meaningful reform of the current system be possible? Where could one start?

The Australian system is quite functional and, unlike the USA, we still have a functioning economy. Granted it mainly comes from digging up bits of the country and selling it cheap to China, but it's not all bad news. The USA could do with a lot more socialism than it's currently got.

Australia was successful before the mining boom started. The policy reforms of the 80s and 90s are the basis of our long-term success.

Well, we were OK in the 90s. The mining boom, and the fact that overseas lenders are only just starting to question our ability to take in more debt has what has kept us out of recession, for now.

Medium term, we might be in for a beating, like the US. Long term, we need more innovation. Name Australian innovation. Easy, right? Now name one innovative Australian company.

The boom was abruptly interrupted here, as it was everywhere else, in 2008 when the GFC kicked off. My old man works for Rio, who dumped tens of thousands of contractors almost immediately, freezing tens of billions of dollars of projects.

What really saved our bacon was a) labour market flexibility (ie many companies renegotiated hours instead of being forced to sack people) and b) that the Reserve Bank had lots of room to manoeuvre. The Commonwealth could also borrow deeply because it had no long term debt.

None of these conditions was accidental. They were, as I said, consequences of decades of sensible reform by both major parties.

> Easy, right? Now name one innovative Australian company.

There are thousands. They're just not necessarily talked about by the HN set. Off the top of my head there's Cochlear, the half dozen companies spun off from NICTA, Kaggle, Computershare which was the first of its kind and so on.

Why pension is deferred pay and companys get a tax break on their contributions as well as you.

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